The genealogy of the Messiah is an important tool in understanding who Messiah was. More importantly the genealogies convey an important understanding of the fulfillment of prophecy and also of biblical law. Their excision from the Reader’s Digest Bible is a serious and unfortunate error.
There are a number of genealogical rules that have to be understood also from the outset. The first is that only the male lines were noted. This stems from the law and the practice that the female was taken into the tribe of her husband on marriage. There were a number of laws, which prohibited intermarriage. The prohibitions on intermarriage were there for sound reasons. From Numbers 36 we see that the land was given for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel. The inheritance was outlined through genealogy. No woman who possessed an inheritance of the tribes of Israel could be married outside of her tribe (Num. 36:8). She was to marry into the family of her father’s tribe. The inheritance could not be removed from tribe to tribe. Each was to keep to their own inheritance (Num. 36:9). For on the blowing of the Jubilee the inheritance then passes to the tribe into which the woman marries (Num. 36:4). The Jubilee rules were applied from Leviticus 25. Thus genealogy was essential to the understanding and the maintenance of the economic system under the law. This system is held to be reintroduced under Messiah (see Ezekiel for its development). God follows the blood lineages and protects them even under dispersion and captivity (Amos 9:9).
These rules of inheritance applied also to the Levites. The houses of the cities of the Levites were their possession in the Jubilee. Therefore Levites were bound by the rules of inheritance over both the priesthood and the cities and the field of the suburbs of the cities (Lev. 25:32-34). This Levitical restriction has application to the Messianic prophecies, as we will see.
The genealogy of Messiah in the New Testament is of two lineages, in Matthew 1:1-7 and Luke 3:23-38, both entirely different. Moreover, the lineage in Matthew differs from that in Chronicles. Therefore there has to be a sound explanation for these contradictions or the Bible is open to the charge of being uninspired. Modern Christianity chooses to ignore the problem going even to the extreme that we see in the Reader’s Digest Bible. To understand what is happening is to admit of other problems which some prefer to ignore.
Matthew and Luke both commence with Adam. The lineage is a process of narrowing down the necessity of prophecy to a particular family in time. The seed of the woman came from Adam (Gen. 3:15). The seed of the woman here is in the masculine singular (zer’a). (The texts of Gen. 17:7; 21:12; and Gal. 3:16 have relevance. Satan’s power is removed and his system destroyed from Heb. 2:14; 1Jn. 3:8).
Genesis 17:7 showed that the Covenant and hence Messiah had to come through Abraham’s seed. Genesis 21:12 narrows the lineage to Isaac by whom Abraham’s seed shall be called. However Ishmael was also Abraham’s seed and therefore was established as a nation. However it was through Isaac that the seed was called.
The lineage of Messiah is further narrowed. John 7:42 refers to a number of prophecies in a single text.
John 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? (KJV)
The Scriptures that are covered by this text are found at Psalm 110:1-7 where he is David’s Lord and Priest of Melchisedek. This text refers thus to the priest Messiah.
Psalm 132:6,11 shows that it is one of David and Ephratah that God will sit upon the throne.
Psalm 132:11 The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. (KJV)
Messiah shall be of the root of Jesse and would be salvation to the Gentiles from Isaiah 11:1,10.
Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: (KJV)
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (KJV)
Thus Messiah had to be the seed of the root of Jesse, the father of David. Messiah is of David’s line from Jeremiah 23:5-8.
Jeremiah 23:5-8 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. (KJV)
This text confounds modern Christianity because it shows absolutely that Messiah shall rule on earth and that there will be a second exodus which establishes Israel.
Micah 5:2 shows that Messiah will be born from Bethlehem.
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (KJV)
Thus the seed is of Adam through Abraham, through Isaac, through Judah, through David and from Bethlehem. This is the traditional narrowing of the lineage. The lineage can and should be narrowed further than this. There are two aspects of the Messianic advent which show that Messiah is of two advents for two purposes. The first purpose was as the priest Messiah to establish the order of Melchisedek, to create a priesthood without genealogy, so that it might be opened to the Gentiles as the gift of God.
The elect have been ransomed by Christ as an order of kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:9-10).
And they sang new praise saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.10 And hast made them for our God kings and priests; and they shall reign on the earth.
The Aaronic priesthood therefore had to come to an end and with it the Temple both in Jerusalem and also in Egypt at Heliopolis. The temple of Leontopolis in the nome of Heliopolis was established by Onias IV through the prophecy of Isaiah 19:19. It was established in the land of Goshen to assist in the fulfilling of a prophecy in Hosea of both Israel and Messiah, that is, Out of Egypt have I called my son (Hos. 11:1; Mat. 2:15). The temple in Egypt operated from c. 160 BCE to 71 CE when it was closed by order of Vespasian after the destruction of Jerusalem. The closure thus completed the Sign of Jonah, extending from 30 CE - 70 CE, and being completed from 1 Nisan 70 CE to 1 Nisan 71 CE (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)). The authority of the temple was removed after the forty years had expired which had been allowed for Judah’s repentance. The forty years followed on from the three years of Messiah’s ministry on a year for a day against that of the ministry of Jonah to Nineveh.
The new order was after the order of Melchisedek (Ps. 110:4). Christ was the High Priest of that order. The elect are the priests, being without genealogy (Heb. 7:1-21). These priests are also kings given a kingdom (Heb. 12:28). It is self evident that a High Priest can only be so if there are other priests over which he might rule. By definition those cannot be Aaronic, although the sons of Aaron will also be part of that priesthood (Rev. 7:7). The concept of the priesthood is wider than the nation, as the concept of Israel is also extended to include all nations.
The Messianic lineage included not only a Davidic lineage but also an Aaronic lineage. The prophecy shows that the lineages were of David through Nathan and Levi through Shimei. This prophecy in Zechariah 12:10-14 also shows that Messiah was to be killed.
Zechariah 12:10-14 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadadrim'mon in the plain of Megid'do. 12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shim'e-ites by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves. (RSV) (note the KJV reads me whom they have pierced based on western codices, the eastern codices show the correct word to be him).
The text shows two lineages. The first is David through Nathan the second is Levi through Shimei. This act was to cause a destruction and a mourning in Jerusalem and the nation (vv. 11-14). The prophecy thus linked the destruction of Jerusalem to the death of Messiah. The time span of the forty years from 30 CE to 70 CE is thus of significance. Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman armies from 1 Nisan 70 CE. The Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 70 CE from Atonement however the Egyptian temple was closed in 71 CE from the order of Vespasian following the Jewish war. The destruction continued in the countryside after the destruction of the temple.
Only Matthew and Luke are concerned with genealogies. Mark and John commence with Jesus as an adult, thus genealogies are not as relevant.
In his paper ("The Genealogy of Messiah", The Vineyard, November 1993, pp. 10-13, reprinted from Issues, A Messianic Jewish Perspective) Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel Ministries says:
In Matthew, Joseph plays an active role, but Miriam (Mary) plays a passive role. Matthew records angels appearing to Joseph, but there is no record of angels appearing to Miriam. Matthew records Joseph’s thoughts but nothing is recorded about Miriam’s thoughts. On the other hand, Luke’s Gospel tells the same story from Miriam’s perspective. From the context of each Gospel, it should be very evident that the genealogy of Matthew is that of Joseph, and the genealogy of Luke is that of Miriam.
The question then raised is: why do we need two genealogies, especially since Y’shua (Jesus) was not the real son of Joseph? A popular and common answer is: Matthew’s Gospel gives the royal line, whereas Luke’s Gospel gives the real line. From this concept another theory arises. Since seemingly Joseph was the heir apparent to David’s throne, and Jesus was the adopted son of Joseph, Jesus could claim the right to David’s throne.
On the other hand, Luke’s Gospel gives the real line, showing that Y’shua himself was a descendant of David. Through Miriam, he was a member of the house of David, but he could claim the right to sit on David’s throne through Joseph, the heir apparent. Actually the exact opposite is true (emphasis added).
Arnold Fruchtenbaum raises very important issues in his work, however he does not tie them in as is necessary from an understanding of Zechariah as we see above. From Zechariah we see the lineage of David through Nathan mentioned. Nothing is mentioned of David through Solomon and for very good reason.
As noted by Fruchtenbaum, there were two requirements for kingship in the Hebrew Scriptures. These were adopted after the division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon.
The first requirement to hold the throne of Judah was to be a Davidic descendent. Messiah was to be seated on the throne of David (Isa. 9:7). The king could only be of the House of David. Jeremiah 33:20-21 shows that the covenant with David and his seed, and also the Levites, could not be broken. Any conspiracy to do away with the House of David such as we see from Isaiah 7:5-6 was prophesied to fail.
Isaiah 7:5-6 Because Syria, with E'phraim and the son of Remali'ah, has devised evil against you, saying, 6 "Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Ta'be-el as king in the midst of it," (RSV)
The prophesied failure was to preserve the kingdom so that Scripture could not be broken. Messiah will return to take up that kingdom in accordance with Daniel 2:35,44-45.
The failure of any conspiracy is seen from Isaiah 8:9-15 where it is rather God that should be feared.
Isaiah 8:9-15 Be broken, you peoples, and be dismayed; give ear, all you far countries; gird yourselves and be dismayed; gird yourselves and be dismayed. 10 Take counsel together, but it will come to naught; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us. 11 For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 "Do not call conspiracy all that this people call conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the LORD of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary, and a stone of offense, and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble thereon; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken." (RSV)
Anyone who tried to rule on the throne of Israel without divine sanction was doomed. All those who usurped Samaria’s throne without prophetic sanction were assassinated (1Kings 11:26-39; 15:28-30; 16:1-4,11-15; 21:21-29; 2Kings 9:6-10; 10:29-31; 14:8-12).
Another significant and totally ignored text relating the household of David to Messiah is that of Zechariah 12:7-9 which precedes that quoted above but actually is placed in sequence behind the activities described in Zechariah 12:10-14. Zechariah 12:10-14 relates to the killing of Messiah at the first advent. The text above it in Zechariah 12:7-9 relates to the return and the battles of the last days.
Zechariah 12:7-9 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. 8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (KJV)
The significant aspects of this text are that:
Judah is converted and saved in precedence so that the glory of the House of David and also that of Jerusalem is not magnified against Judah.
Jerusalem shall be defended by the Lord. He that is feeble among them shall be as David; and the House of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord [Yehovah] before them.
In that day all nations that come against Jerusalem shall be destroyed.
These points are very significant. To address the last point first, it is obvious that we are concerned with the last days and the prophetic battle of the Valley of Meggido from verse 11. Thus the scene of the first death is used to determine the final victory over the nations.
The first two aspects show that there is a distinction made between the House of David and that of the House of Judah when theoretically one springs from the other. However this is not the case with the Household of David in the last days because it is extended to embrace the Gentiles under the elect as we have seen above where the Gentiles are blessed through Messiah.
This sequence shows a physical and a spiritual level. Firstly, the feeble of Jerusalem will be strengthened to be as David. Secondly, the household at this time will be as Elohim or God as the Angel of Yehovah (or Yahovah) was before them. The Angel of Yehovah was the Angel of Great Counsel of the LXX, Isaiah 9:6, Israel’s second God who was the Angel of Yehovah (or Yahovah) of Zechariah 12:8. This Angel was an elohim and was the face of God, the Peniel of the Patriarchs, the El Bethel or God of the House of God of Abraham. This Angel was the God who was anointed as God by his God with the oil of gladness above his partners from Psalm 45:6-7 which Hebrews 1:8-9 shows us refers to Messiah.
Thus the elect become elohim, as Christ was elohim, as the pre-incarnate Angel of Yahovah in the Old Testament, and as he is elohim from his resurrection from the dead as a son of God in power (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:8-9).
This is a powerful concept. It also shows the magnitude of the calling of God and the plan of God. It is ignored because it does not accord with orthodox views from the Council of Chalcedon which occurred around 451.
We are thus in a position to relate Matthew and Luke to the rest of Scripture in their proper context. The genealogy in Matthew has a number of distinct aspects which confer a series of biblical lessons and show conclusively why that lineage had to be that of Joseph. Y’shua or Joshua could not be Messiah from the account in Matthew alone. The account in Luke is needed to demonstrate why in spite of the lineage of Joseph, he could be king and how God was to reconcile the injunction He had instituted in the line of David and the kingship through the prophet Jeremiah.
Messiah is named by divine direction. His name is given in Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31. The name is derived from the name Hoshea (as in Num. 13:16) with the prefix Yah pronounced or written Jah. This means effectively God is our Salvation. Yahoshua is then rendered as Yeshua or Joshua in usage. Jesus is a Greek version of Joshua and is derived from non-Hebrew sources. The form in Greek may well be influenced by Esus of the trinity system of the Hyperborean Celts.
Matthew commences his lineage by linking three key figures. Yeshua or Joshua called Jesus is the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. He then commences the lineage from Abraham proceeding to the line of Judah. The brothers are merely mentioned. This is to acknowledge prophecy. The lineage breaks with tradition and mentions women from verses 3-6.
Matthew 1:3-6 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Ammin'adab, and Ammin'adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Bo'az by Rahab, and Bo'az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri'ah, (RSV)
The women mentioned are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba who was the wife of Uriah. The significance of these women demonstrates specific lessons in the genealogy. Sarah was not mentioned. She was undoubtedly more significant than all. Fruchtenbaum makes two pertinent points about them.
First, they were all Gentiles. This is obvious with Tamar, Rahab and Ruth. It was probably true of Bathsheba, since her first husband, Uriah, was a Hittite. Here Matthew hints at something he makes clear later: that while the main purpose of the coming of Jesus was to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the Gentiles would also benefit from his coming. Second, three of these women were guilty of sexual sins. Bathsheba was guilty of adultery, Rahab was guilty of prostitution and Tamar was guilty of incest. Again, Matthew only hints at a point he later clarifies: that the purpose of the Messiah’s coming was to save sinners ...
Reconciling sinners to God is the primary point of the sacrifices of Messiah. That is the crucial point in the Gospels.
Only those who do not understand the spiritual significance of the saving grace of Messiah become preoccupied with trying to prove that these women were not Gentiles and that they were not sinners. It is unimportant what their status was given the objectives of the incarnation of Messiah. His sacrifice was enough. That is not fully understood. Time is thus wasted trying to prove that Rahab was a descendent of Israel among the Canaanites. Also that she was a widow by resort to Sanskrit words for an innkeeper. The fact was that she came from a prominent family. Her people, under the religious system at the time, practiced temple prostitution and as such she could hardly have avoided the issue, much less been stigmatised because of it.
Time is also wasted trying to prove that Ruth was not a Moabitess, from the injunction against marriage with a Moabite, despite the wording of the texts. It is asserted that she was in fact a descendent of Israel in Moab of perhaps Manasseh, Reuben or Gad (Josh. 1:12-15). That is unnecessary. Ruth’s own statements indicate that the god of her people was different from that of Naomi and that she swore allegiance not only to Naomi but also to her God (Ruth 1:16).
The fact of the matter was that the royal lineage was opened to Gentiles and to sinners commencing from the very first activities of the tribes in Canaan. This has significance for the elect.
Another major point of Matthew’s genealogy is that he is selective in naming only the direct lineage. Solomon is also mentioned because the kingship rested in him. He built the temple. However, he also lapsed into idolatry and his line is listed then to Jeconiah who was one of the last kings before the Babylonian captivity. The lineage of Joseph is then traced from Jeconiah to Joseph. Thus Joseph is a descendent of David but through Jeconiah. This has great significance.
Jeremiah 22:24-30 "As I live, says the LORD, though Coni'ah the son of Jehoi'akim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off 25 and give you into the hand of those who seek your life, into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chalde'ans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die. 27 But to the land to which they will long to return, there they shall not return." 28 Is this man Coni'ah a despised, broken pot, a vessel no one cares for? Why are he and his children hurled and cast into a land which they do not know? 29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD! 30 Thus says the LORD: "Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days; for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah." (RSV)
Coniah is formed by removing Je from Jeconiah or Let Jehovah [or Jah] establish. The removal of the divine name is meant to show the departure of God from Jeconiah. The signet on His or God’s right hand can be seen from Haggai 2:23.
Haggai 2:23 On that day, says the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerub'babel my servant, the son of She-al'ti-el, says the LORD, and make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the LORD of hosts." (RSV)
Zerubbabel was listed in Matthew as the son of Shealtiel. However we know from 1Chronicles 3:18-19 that he was the son of Pediah. Yet Matthew and also Ezra 3:2; 5:2 say he was the son of Shealtiel.
1Chronicles 3:17-19 and the sons of Jeconi'ah, the captive: Sheal'tiel his son, 18 Malchi'ram, Pedai'ah, Shenaz'zar, Jekami'ah, Hosh'ama, and Nedabi'ah; 19 and the sons of Pedai'ah: Zerub'babel and Shim'e-i; and the sons of Zerub'babel: Meshul'lam and Hanani'ah, and Shelo'mith was their sister; (RSV)
How is this contradiction resolved? The text actually reflects an aspect of the law.
Deuteronomy 25:5-6 "If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside the family to a stranger; her husband's brother shall go in to her, and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. 6 And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his brother who is dead, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. (RSV)
This duty is mandatory. Failing to execute this responsibility (through covetousness) was the sin for which Onan was killed (Gen. 38:8-10).
Zerubbabel thus succeeded to the lineage of Shealtiel through the legal obligations placed upon Pediah who then died. Shenazzar thus became regent or guardian to Zerubbabel for the return to Israel as noted in Ezra 1:8-11; 5:14-16 where he is termed Sheshbazzar.
Strong and others hold Sheshbazzar to be Zerubbabel’s Persian name because to have it otherwise, and Zerubbabel so young, requires the reconstruction of the temple to be relocated to its correct place in the reign of Darius II, instead of being misplaced in the reign of Darius I, which both rabbinical Judaism and orthodox Christianity would prefer for their own reasons (see The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13); and Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)).
From the prophecy given through Jeremiah the lineage was further limited. God decreed that none of Jeconiah’s offspring could succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah. The descent however, to Zerubbabel of the line, showed that God would choose of this line for specific tasks as a signet ring. In other words, as a seal of God. Thus Messiah could not be the natural son of Joseph and sit upon the throne, without specific divine approval or Scripture would have been broken. Christ would have been disqualified from sitting on the throne if he were the natural son and, as Joseph himself could not be the heir apparent, he could not inherit the title by adoption. God set about repairing the breach and restoring the lineage in another way. Matthew is aware of this problem. That is why he commences the Gospel with this lineage thus demonstrating the problem and then giving the account of the virgin birth which he obviously saw as overcoming the problem. Following on from the genealogy, Matthew 1:18-25 shows that it could only be by the virgin birth by Mariam or Miriam (Mary) that Christ could ascend the throne. This has significance for the Jewish people in that only through Messiah could they ascend to the spiritual kingdom and spiritual priesthood.
There is a third aspect of the lineage to Zerubabbel that requires examination.
Zorobabel was the 23rd generation in male line descent from King David (No. 1). He was the accepted heir. The details of his ancestry and the solution of the two fathers listed for him being Shealtiel and Pediah (1Chro. 3:19) are explained under the Levirate laws and the explanation above. The matter of this lineage is also examined in the paper From David and the Exilarchs to the House of Windsor (No. 67), according to Jewish chronology using the Darius I sequence. The correct timings are dealt with in the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13).
Zorobabel was the royal Jewish heir and 3rd Exilarch at Babylon ca 545 BCE. He was 8th Governor of Judea ca 537-536 BCE. He was Prince of Judah ca. 515 BCE and was recalled and imprisoned 513 BCE and executed 510 BCE.
He married three wives. The first wife was Amytis a Babylonian Princess, who was called a foreign wife. She bore him Shazrezzar, which is a Babylonian name. He was the ancestor of a major Davidic line.
Zorobabel’s second wife was Rhodah who was a Persian princess who later remarried a Persian prince and was also called a foreign wife. She bore him Reza (a Persian name). He was allegedly the half brother of Darius, king of Persia through his mother. It is this line that is referred to in the ancestry of Mariam if we accept that the line of Zorobabel was in fact through Nathan and the adopted son of Jeconiah, namely Shealtiel who was the actual son of Neri(ah). The Crown Princess Tamar was the means of the change in lineage. This is another incident of a Princess Tamar being used to transfer the kingship. We will examine this further below.
Thirdly, Zorobabel married Esthra, who was a Jewish princess and from whom the line of the current royal family is descended.
The prophecy concerning the throne and the place of Zorobabel in the process is seen to be part of the process of the birthright promises of the last days.
Remember that the father of Zorobabel was Shealtiel/Pediah and the father of Shealtiel was not actually Jeconiah. He was the adopted son of Jeconiah and was his acknowledged heir (Mat. 1:12). He was the son of the wife of King Jehoiakin or Jeconiah by a former husband of Princess Tamar, namely Prince Neri(ah). See also Luke 3:27. Now this fact gives another rise to the issue of from whom the lineage of Zorobabel or Zerubbabel was actually descended.
We see that the line in Luke was of David through Nathan, and the line in Matthew was of David through Solomon. If this explanation is taken into account, then the line of Jeconiah and the curse placed upon it is overcome in that the lineage through Zorobabel is through Shealtiel. However, the reality is that the father was claimed to be Pedaiah under the Levirate laws, and the progeny goes to the father’s line. That lineage is in fact in Nathan through Neri or Neriah. It is equally probable that this was the means that was used to overcome the curse placed on Jeconiah’s lineage. Shealtiel appears to be the focal point in the combining of the lines. The lineage certainly sits on the throne of Judah, albeit in exile, and has done so for centuries, and recently over the ten tribes.
The major fact in all this is that we can trace the ancestry in the royal houses of Israel down to Northern Germany and the United Kingdom who are the Northern tribes of Israel. The kingship rests in Israel to this day until the return of the Messiah whose right it is.
The Rightful Prince of Judah
It is of major importance to note that in the line of the Exilarchs (cf. Cox ibid, (No. 67) above), that from the year 12 BCE which was the earliest date that Christ could have been born and which was in fact the date of the original census decree by Augustus from which all subsequent census undertaking in the Roman Empire commenced, there was no Exilarch on the throne of Judah. From that time onward they were deposed. It was only after the death of Messiah in 30 CE that there was an Exilarch appointed as Prince of Judah. Thus, God did not permit an alternate prince to sit on, or be eligible and nominated for the throne of Judah during the entire cycle of the incarnation of Jesus Christ who was the rightful prince of Judah.
There is another aspect of the lineage which bears reflection and that is that there are a number of generations mentioned in Matthew 1:17.
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. (RSV)
The grouping of the generations are seen to be significant in number groupings. The genealogy of Messiah has an extensive significance from Adam. The first seven generations from Adam have significance to the Plan of Salvation. The grouping in Matthew of three fourteens are to highlight the activities of God. Abraham was called and set apart. Fourteen generations later David the layman was set apart (1Sam. 16:13). David established Israel as a power and built the Temple through his son Solomon for whom he prepared the nation and the resources. Fourteen generations later the end result of human government and kingship was captivity. Fourteen generations later, after the nation had been restored under the priesthood, they were to be judged by the advent of Messiah and dispersed under the Sign of Jonah (see paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13) ibid.). This was not understood.
More importantly the 42 generations of Matthew from Abraham to Christ refers to a concept found in the construction of the Temple. The Temple was constructed on the spiritual plan of the Jubilee. Six levels applied to the nave or entrance symbolising the development of man. The seventh cycle was in the body proper. This sequence symbolised that Messiah would make entry into the temple proper accessible from his advent. By his death he tore the Temple veil making the way open into the naos or Holy of Holies, which the elect were (1Cor. 3:16). This way was opened fully from the destruction of the physical Temple (Heb. 9:8).
Both priesthood and kingship had been established and judged wanting by Messiah. Messiah was thus the Messiah of Aaron and Israel; he was both priest-Messiah and king-Messiah. The one Messiah of two advents was expected by Israel, as we know from the Dead Sea Scrolls (see G. Vermes The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, re Damascus Rule VII and the fragment from cave IV). Vermes, among others, holds that these texts show that the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah of Israel were understood to be the same entity of different advents by first century Judaism.
The answer to the problems raised from the Matthew genealogy is answered by him from 1:18. The more comprehensive answers to the texts are provided by Luke. Thus both should be read in conjunction.
Another significant point made by Arnold Fruchtenbaum regarding the genealogy of Messiah, which also has broader application is that of the Judaic customs of the time. He says of Luke’s genealogy:
Unlike Matthew, Luke follows strict Jewish procedure and custom in that he omits no names and mentions no women. However, if by Jewish custom one could not mention the name of a woman, but wished to trace her line, how would one do so? He would use the name of her husband. (Possible Old Testament precedents for this practice are Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63).
That would raise a second question: If someone studied a genealogy, how would he know whether the genealogy were that of the husband or that of the wife, since in either case the husband’s name would be used? The answer is not difficult: the problem lies with the English language.
In English it is not good grammar to use a definite article (the) before a proper name (‘the’ Matthew, ‘the’ Miriam); however, it is quite permissible in Greek grammar. In the Greek text of Luke’s genealogy, every single name mentioned has the Greek definite article ‘the’ with one exception: the name of Joseph (Luke 3:23). Someone reading the original would understand by the missing definite article from Joseph’s name that this was not really Joseph’s genealogy but his wife Miriam’s.
Furthermore, although many translations of Luke 3:23 read: "...being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Heli...", because of the missing Greek definite article before the name of Joseph, the same verse could be translated: "Being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli..." (emphasis retained).
In other words although Yehoshua (Yeshua, Joshua or Jesus) was supposed to be the son of Joseph he was in fact the descendent of Heli who was the Father of Miriam. The Jerusalem Talmud recognised this genealogy to be that of Miriam and not of Joseph. It refers to Miriam as the daughter of Heli in Hagigah 2:4.
The use of the definite article in the Greek text also has application when making distinction between Messiah and God, for example in John 1:1,18; 1John 5:20. This has been noted extensively over time by sects in disagreement with so-called orthodoxy (e.g. the Socinians; see Heydock commentary to the 1851 reprint Catholic or Douay-Reims Bible).
Luke sets out to trace Christ back to Adam thus identifying the process of the seed of the woman from Adam. This text identifies the Davidic lineage with Nathan which is vital to fulfil the prophecy in Zechariah. More importantly it is then apart from the Jeconiah lineage which had been removed, among other things, to make way for the rule of the High Priesthood. Thus Yehoshua or Joshua was a descendent of David from his mother. Therefore the virgin birth apart is developed first and then the genealogy is mentioned here in Luke. He thus establishes the first requirement for kingship that is Davidic lineage apart from Jeconiah.
He establishes the second requirement to be of the line of Nathan and of the family also of Levi through Shimei from the outset by his outline of the family relationship of Miriam to Elisabeth wife of Zacharias, the High Priest of the Division of Abijah (or Abia), which was the eighth division of the Temple Priesthood (see 1Chron. 24:10; Neh. 12:17). The twenty- four divisions were reformed after the return from four divisions, by lot, with the original names (see Comp. Bible fn. and App. 179 III).
The wife of Zecharias was Elisabeth (named for Aaron’s wife Elisheba (Ex. 6:23) and spelt Elizabeth in the LXX). She was of the daughters of Aaron and hence she was a Levite (Luke 1:5). She was the mother of John the Baptist by divine direction. Thus John was appointed. Miriam (or Mary) was of the family of Elisabeth (Lk. 1:36). Thus Miriam must have possessed Levitical bloodlines as well as being of the House of David.
We can only guess at the lineage of Levi being through Shimei, however it can be assumed, as Scripture cannot be broken. The demonstration of Levitical lineage is enough. The divine inspiration of Zecharias and Elisabeth and the naming of John brings us to the next point.
There were others of the House of David not of the line of Jeconiah. Thus the issue must be one of divine appointment which then constitutes the third requirement for the kingship. Luke proceeds to establish the requirement for divine appointment at Luke 1:30-33.
Luke 1:30-33 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." (RSV)
Thus the Lord God gave him the throne of his father David. He fulfilled the requirement by divine appointment.
He was of the seed of the woman as it was prophesied from Genesis. Matthew showed why he could not be king by lineage from Joseph but only by virgin birth and divine appointment. Luke showed why he fulfilled other prophecy not fully understood by either rabbinical Judaism or orthodox Christianity. The rabbinical objections to his Messiahship on the grounds that it must be through the lineage of his father are spurious on the grounds of prophecy and the requirement to be the son of God. Israel’s elohim could not assume physical being by natural means. He became human under direction of his elohim who was the El Elyon, the God Most High. This requirement was prophesied by Isaiah who said:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman'u-el. (RSV)
The requirement is that God with us can only be achieved if the El sent was formerly an elohim and indeed the elohim of Israel anointed as elohim by his elohim as noted from Psalm 45:6-7. He received his humanity entirely from his mother. Thus the traditions of Jewish nationality and tribal identity were transcended by this being so that he could assume the priesthood after the order of Melchisedek and hence become head of an order of kings and priests selected regardless of lineage but allocated to all tribes as we see from Revelation 7:3-8.
He is the son of David and the son of Abraham from Matthew 1:1. Luke 3:38 terms him the son of Adam and the son of God. He thus achieves the fourfold aspects reflected also in the gospels. As son of David he is King through Judah. As son of Abraham he is King of Israel as heir to the promises conferred on and through Joseph. He is also the head of the other nations of Abraham. As the son of Adam he is a man and hence qualified to lead humanity to salvation through death. As the son of God he assumes the elohim status that he laid down at the incarnation, through his resurrection from the dead as son of God in power (Rom. 1:4). He qualified to become the Morning Star and he will share that rule with his household (Rev. 2:27-28; 22:16; cf. Zech. 12:8) as they share the divine nature of God as he does (2Pet. 1:4). The Peshitta says:
27 And he shall shepherd them with a rod of iron; like the vessels of the potter they shall be shattered, even as I was disciplined by my Father.
28 And I will give him the Morning Star.
Messiah was obedient unto death and so also must we be obedient and he will give us the ruler ship of the Morning Star as a Son of God; as an elohim, as the Angel of Yahovah at our head. (Zech. 12:8).
Section 2 from Abraham to David | Section 3 from David to Jesus